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nothing farther, would yet be able, from this source alone, with diligence and devout attention, to procure no incompetent acquaintance with the word of God. But, how much soever may be acquired by this means, we are not, therefore, to neglect the private study of the sacred oracles: "The book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good success."
But the neglect of studying the Scriptures is not confined to the poor and uninformed; for persons who are ignorant on scarcely any other subject, and have abundant leisure and opportunity for this sacred duty, are often found to neglect it even as much as others. Yet why is this? Is it that, because the mind is well cultivated in other respects, it needs not be stored with that knowledge which alone can make us "wise unto salvation?" Or is it that the constant perusal of the Scriptures is designed only for the poor and ignoraut; but that to a more cultivated mind, their place may be sufficiently supplied by means of other helps? Or is it that other thoughts and pursuits render insipid to our taste, that sacred volume which ought to be the great fountain of our delights, and the object of our daily meditations? Whatever may be the cause, the consequence is very plain and undeniable; namely, that the "soul perishes for lack of knowledge," and that every spiritual feeling soon dies away for want of being constantly nourished with that bread of life which was intended to strengthen us for our heavenly warfare. Even if we perfectly understood every doctrine, and fully comprehended the meaning of every passage in the Scriptures, the need of constantly perusing them would not
be done away; for the Christian, every day, requires animating as well as instructing, and wishes to feel more of the value and efficacy of those truths which he already admits as a part of his acknowledged creed. We should therefore live as it were upon the word of God, and find it sweet unto our taste: we should endeavour, by a regular study of its sacred pages, to enter fully into its spirit, and not be content with a few general impressions which we are not careful to renew by a fresh and constant recurrence to the Divine source from which they were at first derived.
II. But without dwelling further upon the duty itself, let us proceed to consider, in the second place, the powerful reasons on which it is founded. However disobedient men may often be to a Divine command, they are not usually insensible to their own interest; and could they but be convinced how deeply that interest is concerned in this question, they would surely be led to open, with the most ardent desires after heavenly wisdom, that blessed book which alone can inform us how a guilty being like man can be rescued from eternal death, and become an inheritor of the forfeited glories of the heavenly world.
The necessity of inculcating the serious reading of the Scriptures, for the especial reason mentioned in the text, will appear if we consider how often persons who cannot be said altogether to neglect the perusal of the Divine word, perform it from very inferior or unworthy motives.
1. A large class of persons peruse the Scriptures from no desire but mere taste or curiosity: in much the same method as they would peruse any other volume that contained, like them, interesting parables and narratives; animated appeals, pathetic and touching remonstrances, sublime descriptions, with every thing that
can move the heart or captivate the understanding. In this manner many persons read for entertainment, without once reflecting that they have a personal interest in what they read.
2. Another class read the Scriptures solely from habit; they do not think of their important truths, and have no desire to become savingly acquainted with their blessings; but having been accustomed, perhaps, from early youth, to give (at least on the Sabbath) a portion of their time to this employment, they continue to do so, without ever seriously reflecting upon the real scope and intention of those pages with which, as far as mere memory extends, they are well acquainted.
3. Another class read from a constraining sense of duty, while they have no pleasure in their task, and are glad when it is performed. Conscience, and the remaining principles of a Christian education, will not suffer them entirely to omit the literal performance of the duty; but they never have felt any thing of that holy interest which renders the Scriptures the most interesting volume that was ever produced to the world.
4. To mention but one class more: there are some persons who study the Scriptures rather for the sake of controversy with their neighbour, than for the purpose of
improvement to themselves. They anxiously watch for every passage, or even turn of expression, which may furnish them with weapons for dispute, while they know littleperhaps nothing-of those humbling and sanctifying effects which the perusal of the word of God was intended to produce.
And are such the sentiments with which men often approach that sacred record which, amidst the darkness of a sinful world, has unveiled Heaven to our view, and brought life and immortality to light? How different is the motive assigned in the text, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Christ." Here we perceive the great reason for perusing the Scriptures: they are the record of salvation; they bear witness to Him who is the foundation of all our hopes for eternity. Without that knowledge which they alone can convey, we cannot be saved. They point out our guilt and the expiation, our disease and the remedy. To them, therefore, should we gladly resort; they should be the daily rule of our conduct, and the inspirers of our hopes. Thus perusing them under the blessing of Him by whose inspiration they were given, they will become effectual to our salvation, and guide our footsteps amidst all the dangers of the world in the paths of everlasting peace.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. WILL you permit me to make an observation or two on an article that appeared in your Number for August, entitled, "The Expediency of teaching the Deaf and Dumb to articulate." The nameless correspondent of your correspondent
B. says, "My grand effort would be, as soon as possible, to teach my pupils that they have something within them that feels and thinks," &c. This, to say the least of it, appears to me to be an effort without an object. They are as conscious of the capacity as their teacher. But by what name they
are to designate the facultywhether animus, âme, or soul-will depend upon him.
It has often excited my astonishment to meet with persons, otherwise very intelligent, either alto gether sceptical, or quite lost in the labyrinth of metaphysical fancies, when the subject of teaching the naturally deaf and dumb has been agitated by them. I never could account for it in any other way than by supposing that they had not attentively considered wherein these mutes resemble, and wherein they differ from, the rest of their species. Are they not dumb only because they are deaf. The resemblance, I think, is complete in natural capacity to ap prehend. The difference consists in an accidental defect, precluding the acquisition of a mother-tongue in the ordinary way. Give them this and you supply them with a fulcrum, to overthrow the mass of ignorance that weighs them down. The wall of separation removed, they are no longer alone in the social circle-they are enlivened by conversation-instructed by the page of history-enlightened and comforted by the records of eternal truth and are, in every view, elevated to the rank of their fellow beings. All this, I maintain, is accomplished by the plain, rational, and practicable method of teaching them the language of the country where they happen to be situated, or, in other words, giving them a mother tongue.
To effect this, we must, if we expect success, follow the course by which words have acquired value and significancy with our selves: we therefore name things to the deaf and dumb, and teach them to name them also. By things is not here meant external objects only, or such insulated names as grammarians call substantives, but all that is the subject of our percipient faculties, in the form of being, attribute, action, and relation. Be it remembered, that we
came to the possession of our mother-tongue, the foundation of the whole superstructure of our most refined speculations, solely by. the reiteration of those names (words or phrases) being made intelligible to us, through the medium of the organ of hearing, as constantly applied to the perceptions which they serve to note. Happily for the deaf and dumb, words or names may be seen and felt, as well as heard. The arts of writing and printing speak to the eye: certain visible characters have a conventional value; and combinations of these characters serve men to name or call by, as well as articulate sounds, of which they are to us the representatives. It is necessary, therefore, I conceive, on the very threshold of our instruction of the deaf and dumb, if we mean to teach them written language, to make them well acquainted with the characters or letters, their intention and value, before we trouble them with the application of their combinations. They may be shewn to them in succession. They may be formed by the hand with pen or pencil: still they are something external, and very unmeaning to the mute learners. Not so when you teach them a series of movements (or distinct actions) of the organs of speech, which they can see in others, and feel in themselves, associable in their minds and memories with the characters they have been required to look at and to trace. From that time these become the indices or exponents of things, and acquire a value with the learner as the representatives or names of acts they have learnt to perform by organs hitherto dormant, but which they feel to be perfectly well adapted to the use they have been taught to make of them. Letters (the alphabet of the language they are about to learn) are no longer strange unmeaning strokes; they have become intimately connected with the very frame of the learners-a part of themselves,
as it were. For, efface the tablet of the deaf incipient speaker, or remove him from the means of writing, he can still go through his acts, associated with the visible appearances in question, and presently becomes sensible of a new power, that of being readily able to excite, in others, associations similar to his own-he sounds a letter, we write it-we sound one (letting him see, of course the motion of our organs), he writes it. Is not this convention? Can it be doubted whether the parties understand each other?
Is, then, this simple convention unimportant? Is it not the very basis of all artificial language; and is this additional hold of a thing to be remembered of little worth? Those only, I conceive, will answer in the affirmative who have not sufficiently attended to the operations of their own minds, and who have overlooked the force of association and analogy in every mental process. Details would carry me far beyond the limits of a communication like this, else it were easy to demonstrate that the principle applies a fortiori to words, or combinations of letters, as the nomenclature of thought.
In this view, teaching articulation to the deaf and dumb rests its most important advantages on its utility, as the means to an end; namely, the more speedy and perfect acquisition of language; not the fanciful passigraphy of metho. dized signs (that could be useful only were all the world deaf and dumb, or to whole communities of such mutes), but the language of their families, their neighbours and countrymen; that which, in fact, would have been their mothertongue, had nature not deprived them of the usual inlet. It is needless, therefore, I think, to waste time in talking about harmonious or inharmonious pronunciation: no rational person ought to expect the speech of those who never heard, to be modulated into
rhythmical harmony; music and oratory may, and must, be readily given up. But there are other valuable ends to be answered by articulation: the most important of all is that already insisted upon; the next to it is the communication of thought. For I am warranted in saying, that ninety-nine out of every hundred deaf and dumb persons (memory and intellect being acute) may be brought, provided the education be begun sufficiently early, to articulate in a manner not intolerably harsh, and abundantly intelligible to all who are in habits. of intercourse with them. And who, I would ask, are so much interested in understanding them? But suppose the worst; let them fall in with strangers whose ears, unaccustomed, to their less perfect articulation, feel it unpleasant, or even unintelligible. What hinders their use of writing, the manual alphabet, or "look and gesture," if required? Is there any thing to preclude this simply from the cir cumstance of their being able to converse in another way with those who like to hear them, because they can readily understand them? It must not for a moment be imagined that teaching to speak narrows the capacity for other modes of communication: signs, when duly estimated, are used as the connecting link between the deaf and their teacher. Articulation hinders nothing; it furthers much; it is a superadded faculty, and may be used or not, at pleasure. It is felt and valued as such by all who, with it, have acquired a knowledge of the language used by those around them: it is thus felt, also, by the parent, the brother, the friend, and companion, of these unfortunate individuals.
It is far from my wish to make comparisons that might lead to invidious discussions. I reluctantly, therefore, allude to the terms "French school" and " English school," brought forward in the paper which gave rise to these
remarks. But I must affirm, that if the comparison should be found to be as disadvantageous to the "English school as B's correspondent states; it will arise from other causes than the one to be inferred from his words. Is this gentleman aware that the venerable Principal of the "French school," while in London, expressed his conviction of the advantages of teaching articulation to the naturally deaf and dumb, declaring his intention of introducing it into the institution at Paris on his return? And that, if the journals of a few months back may be credited, it has actually been there introduced with some success?
Not having read or heard, that I remember, the observations of Professor Dugald Stewart on the subject, I cannot reply to them: but no name can weigh against convictions derived from actual ob
"The methodizing and perfectioning of signs" falls properly to those who think the deaf and
dumb incapable of learning a lan. guage common to their countrymen, or who imagine the generalization of ideas by manual signs the most perfect of all languages. If it be so, why not substitute it in the place of all others?
For the Christian Observer.
COWPERIANA. No. II. COWPER, in the peroration of his poem entitled "Expostulation," after expressing his small hope of being able to influence, by any representation of his, the minds and morals of the community, adds: "But if a sweeter voice, and one design'd
A blessing to my country and mankind, Reclaim the wand'ring thousands, and bring home
A flock so scattered, and so wont to roam, Then," &c.
Whose was this "sweeter voice?"
The writer whose remarks on the Task have lately appeared in the Christian Observer, cites a well-known passage in one of Curran's speeches, as having been, in his opinion, suggested by the opening paragraph of the second book of that poem. There is a coincidence, at least equally striking, between Cowper's eulogy of Howard on Charity, and Burke's passage on the same subject. The point of resemblance lies in the following lines in Cowper:
"To traverse seas, range kingdoms, and Not the proud monuments of Greece bring home, or Rome,
But knowledge such as only dungeons teach," &c.
The writer has not the corresponding passage of Burke before him,
but it will occur to the recollection of most readers. Was Burke or
Cowper the original?
The lines in Charity,
"Soft airs and gentle heavings of the